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I said it last time, but it holds true again, today is the most important day in the history of our footballing nation. Today we face off against Belgium, it has been declared American Outlaws day in Pittsburgh, and most importantly Jozy Altidore has been declared fit and ready for action. That should be a huge boost to the USA because we’ve looked sort of listless without the big man up front. Playing with a true striker will give us some structure and we all know that Jozy can provide those moments of brilliance that are so crucial at the World Cup. Jurgen Klinsmann has spoken out against FIFA selecting an Algerian match official for today’s game. I’m sure bias won’t have anything to do with his refereeing decisions, but I do question them selecting an official that doesn’t regularly officiate matches of this importance.
Either way, that match kicks off at 4PM today, so by 3:30 I expect all of you to be standing with your fellow USA fans at whatever venue you feel appropriate. The American Outlaws are hosting watch parties at the Claddagh and Lattitude 40 for those of you in the Pittsburgh area. The atmosphere will be spectacular and I really can’t wait for this afternoon.
In yesterday’s matches, France ran out 2-0 winners over Nigeria. Nigeria had a goal taken away in the first half for a dubious offside call. I think that one could have gone either way, but the referee blew the whistle and Nigeria were unable to mount much of an attack following that. After a scoreless first half, the second half began with Blaise Matuidi earning a yellow card for an ugly challenge on Ogenyi Onazi. The challenge broke both the tibia and fibula of Onazi and probably could have earned a red card for Matuidi, but he escaped dismissal. Vincent Enyeama was an absolute monster in this match, he played spectacularly, and unfortunately his performance wasn’t enough. He batted a ball away from his goal, but it fell onto the head of Paul Pogba who smashed it home. In the closing moments of stoppage time, a French corner kick was taken short and a cross sent into the box, which Joseph Yobo sent into his own goal for the match’s final goal. It was a heartbreaking and legbreaking way for Nigeria to crash out of the tournament, and I think that Enyeama’s performance deserved better.
In yesterday’s second match, Germany required extra time to break a scoreless deadlock with Algeria. The match ended 2-1 with all the goals coming in the extra periods. Manuel Neuer was doing his best sweeper keeper routine throughout the match and displayed his considerable skills to the world. It only took two minutes into the first extra period for Andre Schurrle to break the scoreless deadlock, Schurrle flicked in a perfect Thomas Muller cross with his left foot. In the 120th minute, Mesut Ozil scored his first goal of the tournament, by pouncing on an Andre Schurrle rebound and smashing it home. Algerian keeper Rais M’Bolhi really deserved better after making 10 saves in the match, earning MOTM honors. One minute later Algeria managed to scrape back a goal thanks to Abdelmoumene Djabou who hit home a spectacular cross from Sofiane Feghoul to make things respectable for Algeria.
Before we get to our results from the weekend and upcoming matches for tonight, here’s a new trivia segment sponsored by Ruffneck Scarves and Who Are Ya Designs. They make a tons of great shirts and scarves and sent me their #Murica shirt, so you should check them out at www.ruffneckscarves.com orwww.whoareyadesigns.com . That brings us to our trivia question for the day which is: Who is the most capped player in USMNT history? If you think you know the answer, Tweet me @IamSchaffer, respond on the Full Time Football Facebook Page, or comment on the blog. We’ll select the winner from the correct responses and send them a gift card so they can pick up some new gear. If you don’t know the answer, still go to ruffneckscarves.com or whoareyadesigns.com and buy a shirt for yourself or the football fan in your life.
Scores from the weekend:
In MLS action:
Chris Barrett’s first half strike was all that Seattle needed to beat DC United. They ran out 1-0 winners in their return to MLS action.
The Phialdelphia Union defeated the New England Revolution 3-1. Sebastien Le Toux opened scoring for the Union just before the halftime break. They went up 2-0 thanks to a Danny Cruz goal that was assisted by Michael Lahoud. The Revs then managed to peg one back thanks to Saer Sene, but Philly put things out of reach with Sebastien Le Toux earning his brace.
The Columbus Crew and FC Dallas played to a scoreless draw on Sunday after the match was postponed on Saturday after lighting struck an off duty firefighter in the parking lot.
The Montreal Impact ran out 3-0 winners over the Houston Dynamo. Jack McInerny had two goals in this match with Marco Di Vaio adding the third.
Gyasi Zardes scored the only goal of the game for the LA Galaxy during their clash with the San Jose Earthquakes.
Erick Cubo Torres scored in Chivas USA’s win over Real Salt Lake. Despite the win they remain in last place.
The Colorado Rapids were 2-0 winners over the Vancouver Whitecaps thanks to goals from Dillon Powers and Vicente Sanchez.
Moving on to NWSL action from the weekend:
Carli Lloyd scored both goals for the Western New York Flash in their 2-1 win over the Boston Breakers. Ezurike Nkemjika earned the Breakers’ goal in that match.
Lauren Holliday scored the match’s only goal for FC Kansas City in their win over Portland Thorns FC.
The Washington Spirit defeated the Houston Dash 1-0 thanks to a goal from Jodie Taylor.
In the final NWSL match from the weekend the Seattle Reign and Sky Blue FC played to a scoreless draw.
Headlines for today:
Adam Lallana has completed his move to Liverpool. He says his wish has been granted to compete in the Champion’s League and for Premier League titles.
Orlando City has completed their move for Ricardo Kaka. He becomes the second Ballon D’Or winner to play in MLS.
Germany defender Shkodran Mustafi will miss the rest of the World Cup after he picked up a muscle tear in his left thigh.
The Cameroon FA has launched an investigation of seven players in match fixing allegations that were made by notable convicted match fixer Wilson Raj Perumal. The match in question is their 4-0 defeat against Croatia, where Alex Song was sent off for elbowing Mario Mandzukic. Betting industry sources have not reported any irregular betting on this match or any other World Cup match.
Frank Lampard is set to play on loan at Melbourne City FC before joining New York City FC at the start of the next MLS season.
Luis Suarez issued an apology to Georgio Chiellini and the world football community and Chiellini has said that all is forgotten.
Coming up at noon we’ve got Argentina taking on Switzerland followed by that monumental clash between Belgium and our brave United States Men’s National Team.